by Scott Shifrel (NY Daily News)
March 9, 2010
Rabbi Baruch Lebovits showed no reaction as Brooklyn Supreme Court jurors found him guilty on eight of 10 counts after three hours of deliberations.
"Thank God, justice is served," the victim's father said in the packed courtroom as Lebovits family members wiped tears from their eyes.
"This makes a statement to the Jewish community," said Beth Kaplan of the group Sacred Lives, one of several advocates who sat through the week-long trial.
"There is denial. The majority of the Orthodox community doesn't believe this can happen. Here we see it can happen."
Prosecutor Miss Gregory had told jurors that Lebovits, 59, lured his son's friend, who was 16 at the time, into a car with a promise of driving lessons in 2004 and 2005. The young man testified that Lebovits would have him pull over and then perform a sex act on him.
There was no physical evidence, and the accuser was a recovering drug addict and a thief - points defense lawyer Arthur Aidala hammered home.
He claimed the victim was trying to shake down Lebovits, who owned a Borough Park travel agency - and said a detective withheld a document showing the victim had talked about being paid off.
Lebovits, who still faces charges he molested two other minors, could get up to four years on each count.